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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - SUSPENSE
Wash does some crazy flying. Even by his standards.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 987 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Jayne held on to the banister with his left hand with such a grip that his knuckles whitened. He was trying to find out where he was hit, where it hurt, when he, frowning in confusion, saw how a cloud of blood came bursting out of his shooter's forehead like a fountain, and even after that it still took him a few seconds to realize that he wasn't hit at all. The miscreant had never fired his gun and now as he dropped to the floor like an empty sack, it was pretty clear that he wouldn't get a chance to – ever again.
Still a little shocked and confused, Jayne tore his eyes away from the body and looked up.
And found River.
She was hanging by her feet, dangling from a pipe above the catwalk a couple of yards behind the spot where the would-be cargo thief had been standing, upside down and with a smoking gun in her hand, and for a very long moment the two of them just looked at each other, both a little warily.
Then she swung herself upwards and jumped down in front of him, before she quickly put the weapon down by his feet. "No touching guns," she said, looking almost ashamed and embarrassed.
He was suddenly aware that his body was sagging, and with a grunt he grabbed the railings with his right hand as well and pulled himself up, still holding her gaze. "Well," he exhaled, "I won't tell if you don't."
She gave him a smile that he didn't return; flicking his fingers, he only gestured to his crutch still lying there a little out of his reach. "Now gimme a hand, will ya?"
Wash could only guess whether the shuttle's thrusters were above water or not. The only way for him to find out was to turn the engines on. Or to try to turn the engines on, because if the thrusters happened to be below the surface then the engines probably wouldn't work, and neither would his plan. And whatever the case, he would only get one chance and one chance only. With the thrusters on, the shuttle would move – which of course was the whole idea – but even the slightest movement could possibly make it sink as well.
With his hand ready on the ignition stick and taking a moment to gather his senses, he glanced around the cockpit one last time and found his thoughts almost unconsciously drifting towards Inara. Until recently this had been her home, though it bore little resemblance to the place of comfort and elegance it had been then. And yet, for some reason, the very thought of the dark-haired woman actually seemed to calm him.
The homes of companions simply did not sink.
For a brief moment he was perfectly convinced that this was undeniably true. And in that moment he acted.
He flipped the ignition stick and – yes, he was in luck – the engines roared to life. The whole shuttle shook and tilted even further. But he managed to catch his balance and with a snarl of determination he turned on the forward thrusters and put the shuttle in reverse. He needed to wiggle it out of the debris trapping it.
The walls creaked and water splashed upon the front window, but Wash's sole focus was concentrated on the dashboard. His hands flew over the controls; his fingers found the right knobs and buttons by instinct, even from this unfamiliar angle. He grabbed the yoke, switched power to the aft thrusters and tried to force the shuttle up, which actually meant down in this case.
"C'mon, c'mon, c'mon," he muttered through his clenched teeth, and then, with a loud snap he was suddenly free of the branches and the nose of the shuttle broke through the surface. With a primal scream he was only half aware came from himself, he gave full throttle forward, and the next thing he knew he was clear of the water, the shuttle skipping across the river.
Now he only had to flip it. Following the shuttle's movements he leaned over and lifted one of his legs to brace for the impact, as up and down swapped places once more.
Later, he couldn't really recall the actual moment it happened. He just suddenly found himself crashing down into his pilot seat, yelling out in pain as his tailbone hit one of the armrests, but still clutching the yoke. He quickly regained control of the ship and only then did it dawn on him what he had just pulled off.
"Wo de ma, it worked!" he hooted out loud, in surprise more than anything. "I am the best gorram pilot in the 'verse!" He continued to shout as he pulled back the yoke to gain more altitude. "And of course nobody was here to witness it! But I still did it."
He glanced outside. The world below was totally changed; there was absolutely no trace of a settlement ever having been there. But the shuttle's homing beacon still worked like a charm and the console soon told him the whereabouts of Serenity, and from there it wasn't hard to calculate the route to the caves. He still had the supplies in the cargo room, and even though he had no idea what kind of condition it was in after all the tossing around, he thought he might as well finish the job and deliver it.
He slumped back into his chair with a sigh of satisfaction. "God, I am a god behind the stick."
Zoë was standing by the cave's entrance, looking out into the everlasting rain. She had gone back here as soon as she was sure that things had really quieted down inside, but now she was thinking that maybe it wasn't such a good idea.
It frightened her that she was in such denial about Wash's death. Death was no stranger to her, she had seen it so many times and she was supposed to know what it meant. She had seen others deny it, though. One time during the war she'd witnessed a soldier drag his dead buddy around with him for days until the rotting body started falling apart, absolutely refusing to believe that he was really gone.
And now it felt like she was doing the same.
She wished she could cry. Wail out in despair. Just to feel something. Just to get it over with. But she just wasn't able to let go of hope. And it scared her.
She should go back to the others. Be with them. She would grieve eventually – the soldier had – and it would most likely be best if she wasn't alone when it happened. With a heavy sigh she threw one last look at the clouded sky and turned to walk back inside.
Then she saw it. First as a shadow in the corner of her eye, and her heart skipped a beat and her head told her not to believe, but she still turned back to have another look and it was really there.
The shuttle. It came flying through the clouds towards her, its landing lights blinking as it hovered above and started its descent.
"Wash!" she yelled. "Mal! Mal, come out!"
She ran towards the landing pad but stopped before she reached it, still not a hundred percent willing to believe her eyes. The shuttle touched down and the hatch opened and he came out.
It really was him. You could spot his floral shirts from miles away.
She started running again, and he saw her and limped towards her, a bright smile spreading across his face.
"Baby," he said as she came up to him, "what are you still doing...?"
She slapped him.
"What the…?" he exclaimed in surprise, covering his cheek with his hand.
"Don't you ever do that to me again!" she hissed. "You hear? Not ever!"
"Well, not if you're gonna hit me."
She threw herself into his arms and burrowed her face into his shirt, drawing in his scent. She heard hurried steps and shouts behind her and then Mal's voice, "Where the hell you been, Wash? You seen the other shuttle somewhere?"
"Why, did you lose it?" Mal must have thrown him one of his looks, because he abruptly changed the tone of his voice and added, "No, I haven't, but with the homing beacon we might be able to pinpoint its location."
"This one works?"
"Yeah, it works."
"Then let's get the hell away from this place."
"Yeah, there's some cargo we need to…"
Zoë's kiss stole the rest of his words.
"You know, I could probably talk the captain into giving you and your daughter a lift to Haven," Book said as Torsten was walking him to the shuttle.
Torsten smiled. "Thank you, but I think I should stay here for the time being. These people look to me now, I can't abandon them. At least not until help arrives."
Book nodded understandingly. "I'll do my best to make sure it does. I got some… pull with the Alliance." Torsten threw him a sideways glance and raised his eyebrows and Book lifted his hand defensively. "Don't ask me how. But I will use it to its full extent to get you good folks the aid you need."
"I appreciate it." They stopped by the landing pad and Torsten offered him his hand. "And I hope to see you again."
Book grasped the hand and shook it. "So do I."
"Preacher, we're leaving!" Mal yelled at him from the shuttle and with a last nod of goodbye Book turned and started walking towards it.
"Maybe Haven could use a shepherd too?" Torsten called after him.
Book kept walking, but looked back at him over his shoulder, a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. "Maybe. Who knows?"
"Okay, let's see if we can find our wayward shuttle and then get the hell off this rock," Mal said even as they docked back on Serenity and he and his crew were all making their way towards the hatch. Especially Simon seemed extremely anxious and impatient to get back inside the ship. "Relax, Doc," Mal told him. "I'm sure your sister's just fine."
"Well, I'll believe it when I see it," Simon muttered back.
"Come on, what's the worst thing that could've happened?" Mal continued as he slid the door open. "'Cept for them killing each other."
"My point exactly," the doctor replied as he pushed his way out of the shuttle.
"Oh, Simon," Kaylee twittered as she stepped out behind him. "I'm sure everything's just shiny. They…" She was abruptly interrupted when he suddenly stopped dead in his tracks and she walked straight into him.
Mal stopped too and frowned at the doctor. The young man had thrown a glance through the door leading towards the cargo bay and seen something there that made his face turn ashen and his eyes widen with fear. The captain followed his gaze and he too caught sight of the shapes wrapped in tarp on the floor.
"River?" Simon squealed before he turned and hurried for the kitchen. "River?" he repeated, louder this time, and Mal cursed and ran after him.
"River!" They burst into the galley and Simon skidded to a stop in front of his sister, who was sitting by the table, making notes in a journal, completely unharmed as far as Mal could tell.
She looked up and eyed her brother from head to toe. "You forgot to wipe your feet," she said calmly.
"River," he breathed, visibly relieved but also a little confused.
Mal looked around for Jayne and found him sitting there too, by the other end of the table, sharpening his knives. "There you are," the mercenary exclaimed. "'Bout time! What kept you?"
Mal stepped towards him and pointed a finger that trembled with suppressed anger towards the door. "What happened here?"
Jayne shrugged. "Nuthin' much."
"There are dead people in my cargo bay!"
"Oh, them," Jayne said matter-of-factly. "They tried to take your cargo."
"We did not welcome them," River added.
"The hell no," Jayne concluded, and they both turned their attention back to what they had been doing.
For a moment Mal and Simon were glued to their spots, dumbstruck, but eventually the captain managed to find his voice again, "But how did…?" he began, but stopped and threw his hands up. "No, never mind, I don't wanna know."
Instead he turned and headed towards the bridge. "Wash, get this boat in the air!"
Behind him, the shadow of a smile graced River's features. Simon was the only one who saw it, and it was both the most beautiful and the scariest thing he had seen in a long time.
The End. The series continues in "Simon Says"
Sunday, January 1, 2012 3:46 AM
Friday, November 23, 2012 10:17 AM
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